Natural Hazards

Some of the more likely natural events that could impact MSU

Tornadoes, Severe Storms, Lightning

According to NOAA data, high wind events have occurred over 80 times in the past 30+ years in Ingham County.  These events have each recorded winds in excess of 70 miles per hour and four of these events recorded winds in excess of 100 mph.  The primary hazard with high winds are injury from flying debris, power outages and property damage.

There have been 19 tornadoes in this period, six of which were classified as “F2” with winds between 113-157 mph.

Michigan ranks #2 in the Nation in Lightning related injuries and death and #6 in Damage.

Floods:  The Red Cedar River has flood stage of  7 feet.  This is monitored by a NOAA river gauge and can be viewed at

Historical Crests for the Red Cedar River:

13.40 ft. March 1904 11.95 ft April 1975
11.58 ft April 1947 10.70 ft March 1918
10.47 ft March 1948 10.20 ft March 1916
9.50 ft April 1912 9.46 ft February 1985
9.23 ft March 1982 9.20 ft February 1938

Infrastructure Planning and Facilities maintains flood charts and takes protective measures at pre-determined river levels.

Winter Weather

According to NOAA data, Ingham County has recorded 29 severe winter storms in the past 30+ years.  These would include blizzards, record snowfalls, and record low temperatures.

Winter storms can create conditions that are life threatening unless proper precautions are followed.  Hypothermia, slip and fall injuries, and hazardous driving conditions are all winter hazards.  In addition, extreme snowfalls could disrupt University operations.

The Landscape Services Division, of the MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities unit, develops and implements the snow removal plan.

Health Related Disasters

MSU actively plans for potential Health related events.  These could include a large variety of diseases such as Pandemic Flu or SARS.

The planning and response to health issues is lead by the University Physician and includes cooperation with County, State and Federal Health organizations.